Accepting Africa's refugees in the US

We read your Aug. 5 article on the recent and ongoing resettlement of Somali refugees in the US, noting with dismay the comparison to the US resettlement process for refugees from Sudan such as the "Lost Boys" ("From loneliness to microwave popcorn, a Somalian refugee takes in America"). Although The Christian Science Monitor is to be commended for writing about refugees and focusing on issues that few other national papers do, it is important to realize that such comparisons have little value when they are inaccurate and can bring negative consequences.

We have no doubt that Somali refugees will struggle to acquire US culture, and we know that process will be painful. But we also know that the Sudanese are not yet fully acculturated and have also suffered while in the resettlement process. Many continue to suffer with chronic diseases, work the night shift at meatpacking plants, and have not had the opportunity to learn English in the intensive style necessary for proficiency. Not all of the "Lost Boys" are "...driving and dating and doing all the things teenagers do." Most have been malnourished for the majority of their lives and have little formal education. Yet they must "resettle" in less than a year after arriving in the US. "Lost Boys" and families from Sudan have also met with difficulties, from prejudice to cultural misunderstandings to great personal loss.

Refugees from Sudan arrived in the US with great hope. But it's clear that many now face lives as difficult as what they once experienced in a refugee camp. They have limited job skills, no work, and have lost hope that they can make it. We hope that Americans will not forget the Sudanese as they welcome another 12,000 African refugees whose lives have been so long endangered.
Mary S. Willis and Robert K. Hitchcock
Lincoln, Neb.

Thank you for the interesting and optimistic article highlighting the challenges of refugees adapting to the United States. It is good for us to be reminded of the freedoms that we often take for granted. But even more, it reminds us to respect what refugees have been through in their home countries and to welcome them into our "safe" country by treating them with respect and care. Let us not crush the optimistic spirit, hope, and progress of women like Rahma Mohamud Gure. It is individuals like Aaron Tate, who greet these refugees and help them resettle, and the rest of us, whom these refugees meet in line at the grocery store or befriend as neighbors, who create the face of America.
Thania Villatoro

Money politics

Regarding your Aug. 4 article "Politics becomes a rougher game": Your article can be summed up in two sentences. In America, it's not for the people by the people anymore; in America, laws and government are for sale to the highest bidder. Entire administrations can be bought, sold, or exchanged for the benefit of whoever pays the highest fee.
Carlos Milan
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tap women for white-collar jobs

Regarding your July 29 article "White-collar jobs moving abroad": What is most disturbing about the current strategy to invite more foreign nationals here and send more jobs there is that the United States has always had a great, though apparently unknown, workforce of highly educated and motivated people. We are called "American Women," and we have for years been underemployed, underpaid, unemployed, and generally ignored by corporate America. We worked side by side with our male co- workers only to be overlooked when opportunities appear. Now you know how it feels.
Ola Marra Cook
Campbell, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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